Whether you want to create a small, DIY solar panel at home to power the lighting around your property or want something much larger to help greatly reduce your electric bill with solar power, the basic components for any solar panel are going to remain the same. Many places will give you a step-by-step guide for how to build a solar panel but they also often fail to tell you how it works. In order to fully understand anything, it is necessary to know how it works.
It does not matter if you are working on a car engine, hydrogen fuel sponges or cells, a methane generator, a windmill or anything else, it is not only necessary to look at what goes into it but how and why it belongs there. Solar panels create DC power and volt for volt, DC (or direct current) is much more dangerous than AC (or alternating current) where it is not so much the voltage, but the amperage that will injure or kill you. Knowing what you are doing can help you to make your DIY solar panels a much safer and more rewarding experience.
The glass and the frames are going to be pretty standard no matter how large or small a DIY solar panel you are building. For reasons of endurance and stability, you may want to consider Plexiglas or other alternatives to the glass front but apart from that, these two components are pretty standard. The wiring you need will be dependent on the amount of power you are generating and how or if you are storing it.
The power inverter converts DC power to AC power and will only be necessary if you are going to run AC power or integrate your solar power into your home’s existing electrical system in any fashion. The size of the power inverter that you need again, will depend on the project that you have in mind. The more power you are creating, the larger capacity power inverter you will need for your DIY solar panels.
The Solar Cells are the actual unit that will absorb the sunlight or solar radiation and allow for the generation of power from your DIY Solar Panels. Solar cells are generally marked according to the wattage and amperage that they can produce. The exact size and number you need, will vary depending on your solar panel project but the base principles never change.
Solar cells are known to be very delicate so be very careful when handling them. Do not handle them any more than you have to and if by chance you do damage one, replace it while you are there or you could seriously hamper the efficiency of your DIY solar panels. The amperage will fluctuate if the solar cell is damaged or broken. This will result in fluctuations in power that could affect your entire home or anything else that the solar cells are generating power for.
Any DIY solar panel project will require a positive diode. The job of the diode is to make sure that you do not get any feedback from your system into the delicate wiring and cells of your solar panel itself. The diode should be wired in where the hot wire exits your panel of solar cells. In this way, it works much the same as a single direction valve only allowing the power to travel out and not get back in to the solar cells where it could cause damage to the solar cells themselves or to the create problems with the wiring or cause fluctuations in voltage or amperage.
If you want to increase the amperage for your DIY solar panel, you should wire the solar cells in a parallel fashion. If you wish to increase the voltage of your DIY solar panel project, the solar cells should be wired in series.